Helping Mesothelioma Patients: Pen Is More Powerful than the Knife

Awareness & Research
Reading Time: 4 mins
Publication Date: 02/18/2019
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us

Testimonials

"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Lashawn
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article

APA

Michael, R. (2020, October 16). Helping Mesothelioma Patients: Pen Is More Powerful than the Knife. Asbestos.com. Retrieved October 4, 2022, from https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2019/02/18/mesothelioma-pen-powerful-knife/

MLA

Michael, Raja. "Helping Mesothelioma Patients: Pen Is More Powerful than the Knife." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2019/02/18/mesothelioma-pen-powerful-knife/.

Chicago

Michael, Raja. "Helping Mesothelioma Patients: Pen Is More Powerful than the Knife." Asbestos.com. Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2019/02/18/mesothelioma-pen-powerful-knife/.

Dr. Raja Flores

When it comes to the future of treatment for mesothelioma, I really believe the pen can be more powerful than the knife.

Politicians have the potential to save more patients than thoracic surgeons can.

What do I mean? People are still being exposed to asbestos, the cause of the cancer. There still is no ban of toxic mineral.

We need a ban.

And that would take the pen. We need laws that will protect people from future exposure to asbestos. We need better policy. That will help more people than I can ever help with surgery.

Until the government signs something that says asbestos use is completely banned in the United States, you’re never going to get rid of this problem.

Mesothelioma Is Just Part of the Problem

Mesothelioma is a cancer that is completely preventable.

It was given to us by man. And it’s not just mesothelioma, either.

There are more lung cancer cases linked to asbestos exposure than total mesothelioma cases — by at least a 2-to-1 margin.

And then there are people dying from the progression of asbestosis. They are all horrible diseases.

Every time I see a mesothelioma patient, and they stare me in the eyes, looking to me to save their life, my heart breaks. I know their life could have easily been spared if they never were exposed to that stuff.

What I can do for them is just temporary.

Most people who get surgery, chemotherapy or radiation for mesothelioma are still going to die. Period.

Politicians Can Save More Lives

Politicians can help prevent mesothelioma deaths by passing tougher laws on asbestos use in the United States.

We need to prevent asbestos and asbestos-containing products from coming into the country, whether it’s in crayons, makeup or auto parts.

The politicians can save more lives than the surgeons can. But they are not stepping up to the plate like they should be.

Either they don’t know, or they don’t care.

Republicans and Democrats of the past have failed us when it comes to banning asbestos.

It could be because people already think it’s illegal, and they don’t put enough pressure on the politicians from either side.

We need to turn up the heat on all of them.

Problem Was Ignored for Too Long

Back when asbestos was being used in everything, the companies knew it was a killer, but they were going to suffer financially if they stopped using it. They did their best to stick their heads in the ground.

There is a ton of asbestos already present in all these buildings — legacy asbestos — that is exposing people such as firemen who go into burning buildings or construction workers who renovate older structures.

Not everyone is looking for asbestos, either. They aren’t trying, because if you find it, you have to pay for abatement.

A lot of it just gets swept under the rug.

Many cancers are related to public policy, related to regulation. Unfortunately, money can be put ahead of the well-being of people.

A lot of substances cause cancer, but the politics of cancer is that — if someone’s bottom line is going to be compromised — it’s best to just ignore it.

I see this line of thinking all the time.

But it’s not ignorance. People will lose money once they know they have asbestos in their building and have to abate it. Once property gets labeled as having asbestos, the value goes down.

Ban Helps Next Generation

A ban of asbestos isn’t going to stop mesothelioma by itself.

Countries with bans had to wait 30 or more years before seeing a reduced incidence rate. This is because of the long latency period of the cancer.

But a ban is better than doing nothing. And right now, we’re doing nothing.

We have to do something because the treatments we’re using now are not doing a lot to stop the problem. At least with a ban, we’re doing something that might help our children.

The asbestos out there today needs to be identified better so people know where it is.

What really breaks my heart is hearing about asbestos found in crayons or makeup for kids.

How does that happen? We’ve been recklessly exposing people to asbestos. How does that manifest itself?

Then, 20 or 30 years later, I see patients with mesothelioma who have no idea where they were exposed.

Other people know where it came from, but the innocent bystander has no clue.

A ban of asbestos isn’t the only solution, but it would be a much-needed step in the right direction.